As many as 5,000 to 6,000 Market Basket employees, customers and supporters gathered at Market Basket headquarters in Tewksbury, Mass. Tuesday, according to police on the scene.
The Market Basket rally began at 11 AM, with parking already at capacity and late-arriving supporters taking shuttles and busses from parking lots further away.
Steve Paulenka, a former Market Basket employee who was fired for his role in organizing the first employee rally, acted as emcee for today’s gathering, introducing current and former Market Basket employees who shared their stories.
One employee shared a personal story of how Arthur T. Demoulas supported his family while his young son fought cancer and his wife battled MS:
“To this day, when he sees me, Artie T. asks me ‘How’s your son doing? How’s your wife?’ This $4 billion CEO takes the time to ask me about my wife, my son, my family. Artie T. does that because we are all family at Market Basket.”
Employees and customers traveled from around the New England region to show their support, some as far as Londonderry, New Hampshire. Many gathered in groups wearing t-shirts and holding signs proudly displaying their store numbers.
Below are scenes I captured from Tuesday’s rally.
As store protests and rallies enter their third week, co-CEOs James Gooch and Felicia Thornton have refused to back down on their hardline stance against current Market Basket employees. Today marks the second day of job fairs advertised as an ultimatum last week by Market Basket execs. Turnouts at the job fairs have been marginal at best, given that most job applicants are hesitant to cross picket lines at the job fair sites.
With no immediate end in sight to the standoff between Market Basket execs and employees, stay tuned here for continuing updates to this story.
Photo credit: Keiko Zoll.